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Dec 022016
 
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Mark Herzlich, New York Giants (October 4, 2015)

Mark Herzlich – © USA TODAY Sports Images

DECEMBER 2, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Left guard Justin Pugh (knee), safety Nat Berhe (concussion), linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion), and defensive end Owa Odighizuwa (knee) have officially been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“(Pugh is) not there yet,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “Has a little ways to go. He’s working hard at it.”

Offensive lineman Brett Jones (calf) and offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse (knee) are “questionable” for the game.

“(Jones and Newhouse are) coming along fine,” said McAdoo. “Had some limited work yesterday… We’ll see how they do tomorrow.”

Wide receiver/returner Dwayne Harris (wrist) is “probable” for the game.

Running back Shane Vereen, who is on Injured Reserve with a triceps injury, continues to practice. “He caught the ball well (today),” said McAdoo. “He was moving around well. We’ll see how he does with some contact.”

THE COACHES SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no press availability to the team on Saturday. The Giants play the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Sunday at 4:25PM ET.

Dec 022016
 
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Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Game Preview: New York Giants at Pittsburgh Steelers, December 4, 2016

THE STORYLINE:
I get the sense that many Giants fans are not enjoying this season. They see the Giants as a flawed team and that the roof will eventually collapse. These fans are disappointed that the offense has fallen from top 10 in 2015 to now 21st in the NFL. The running game is 31st in the NFL. Every game is a nail-biter. The Giants have fattened their win total against weak teams. All of these facts or impressions are correct.

But every team has its flaws. And the Giants are a legitimate 8-3 team with a franchise quarterback who is playing decently but has yet to hit his stride, arguably the best wide receiver in football, and a physical defense that can stop the run and the pass and is continuing to improve. The Giants are capable of losing to any team but they are also very capable of beating any team. The Giants are about to enter the toughest part of their schedule – the part that will ultimately define their season – but they should not fear anyone who they are about to play.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a perennial tough out. They have their own franchise QB, arguably the best wide receiver in football, a two-way threat at running back, and a tough, prideful defense. And the Steelers become all that much more difficult to defeat when they are playing at home. That said, the Giants should be insulted that the Steelers are a solid touchdown favorite in this game.

This is a big game for the Giants. Win and their division title/#1 seed hopes are still alive and well. Lose and the Giants will be relegated to fighting for a Wild Card spot.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • WR/Returner Dwayne Harris (wrist) – probable
  • OG Justin Pugh (knee) – out
  • OL Brett Jones (calf) – questionable
  • OL Marshall Newhouse (knee) – questionable
  • DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (knee) – out
  • LB Mark Herzlich (concussion) – out
  • S Nat Berhe (concussion) – out

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
It seems like the Steelers have been playing their trademark 3-4 defense forever. However, while Pittsburgh’s defense has played better in recent weeks against offensively-challenged opponents, they have fallen to 19th in the NFL this season (9th against the run, 23rd against the pass). The Steelers are middle-of-the pack in sacks (24) with no premiere pass-rushing threats. The heart and soul of the defensive team remains the linebacking corps. These are the run stoppers and pass-rushers on the team. You have to be ready for any of them to come after the quarterback. They are fundamentally sound, tough, physical players who play with a lot of pride. This is what makes their defense tough.

Inside, Lawrence Timmons is in his 10th season, but is still leading the team in tackles. Next to him in the middle is Ryan Shazier – the pup in his third year – who is coming on. Outside linebackers Arthur Moats (3.5 sacks), Jarvis Jones, and James Harrison (4 sacks – yes he’s still around) will challenge the Giants offensive tackles.

While the Steelers defense has given up yardage this year, they toughen up near the goal line and are currently the toughest red zone defense in the league. The Giants are 13th in red zone offense and have been hit or miss in this area, though better in recent weeks. Obviously, finishing drives will be important but don’t be surprised if the Giants bog down offensively as they get closer to the end zone.

The game plan seems fairly obvious. While the Giants don’t want to become too one-dimensional in order to keep the Steelers honest, the Giants 31st-ranked running game versus the Steelers 9th-ranked run defense suggests the Giants should attack primarily through the air. Keep in mind the short passing game – a trademark of the West Coast Offense – is often considered equivalent to a running play. That’s how you can view a 4- or 5-yard pass to Rashad Jennings or Paul Perkins.

On the flip side is New York’s 12th-ranked passing game versus Pittsburgh’s 23rd-ranked pass defense. The Steelers can be exposed through the air and they only have seven interceptions as a team. I feel the key to this game is composure. Pittsburgh is a tough place to play. Some teams get intimidated by mystique and crowd noise. Eli Manning has to keep his teammates calm. Don’t make stupid penalties (i.e., false starts) or force the issue and turn the ball over. Again, the Steelers are 19th in defense. The Giants can move the ball against these guys. If New York finishes their drives, the Giants will win this game.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
While the Giants and Steelers may not currently have top-10 offenses, what makes both so dangerous are they both have 2-time Super Bowl winning quarterbacks who can carry their team, and also bring their teams from behind in the clutch. Both offenses have a superb wide receiver. But the added plus for Pittsburgh is their running game. The Steelers have the NFL’s 12th-ranked offense (18th in rushing, 8th in passing). While 18th is middle-of-the-pack, running back Le’Veon Bell, who missed the first three games of the season, has exploded the last two weeks with 266 yards rushing. He also is a featured target in the Pittsburgh passing game with an astonishing 57 receptions. So as much attention as wide receiver Antonio Brown rightly receives, I feel the key to this game defensively is controlling Bell as a rusher and receiver.

Led by center Maurkice Pouney and right guard David DeCastro, the Steelers are capable of controlling the line of scrimmage. This is going to be out-right war at the line of scrimmage between the tackles. Here is where we truly find out how good defensive tackles Damon Harrison and Johnathan Hankins are. Ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon are also going to have to hold their ground on the edge. The linebackers have to get off of blocks and gang-tackle the big, powerful Bell.

In many ways, it is the Giants linebackers who will be on the spot in this game. The bulk of the Steelers offense runs through their three-headed monster of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Brown, and Bell. Not only do the linebackers have to be physical against the run, but they will have to keep Bell in check as a receiver. The Steelers don’t feature the tight end, but when they get close to the end zone, they do have four TDs on the year. Kelvin Sheppard, Jonathan Casillas, Devon Kennard, and Keenan Robinson must come to play.

Then there is Antonio Brown. If there is anyone better than Beckham, it may be Brown. He has 82 catches for almost 1,000 yards and 10 TDs through 11 games despite being the focal point of everyone’s pass defense. The good news for the Giants is that the man covering him in this game – Janoris Jenkins – practiced against Beckham on a daily basis in training camp. That level of competition will help Jenkins against a receiver with a similar skill set. Obviously, as much as the Giants don’t want Bell to nickel-and-dime the Giants to death, New York doesn’t want Brown to blow the game wide open on cheap plays either.

Teams are not getting to Roethlisberger. The Steelers have given up only 14 sacks all year (just over one per game). Part of that is the blocking up front, but Roethlisberger gets rid of the ball quickly and he is a big guy who is hard to tackle and capable of running with the football when in trouble. TACKLING – tackling Roethlisberger, Bell, and Brown – will be HUGE in this game.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
Do the Giants have a place kicking problem? Robbie Gould has now missed three extra points in two weeks. It’s unnerving to be entering the final stretch, and the toughest stretch, with a big question mark at kicker.

The Steelers use Antonio Brown as their primary punt returner. He has only 14 returns all year because teams try to kick away from him. He obviously is a threat every time he touches the football (four career TDs as a punt returner). Brad Wing’s placement will be key as will be the work of the gunners. And the Giants will be a bit short-handed on special teams this week with Mark Herzlich out.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo on the Steelers offense: “You try to take one thing away and they will open up a hole somewhere else. But they have been good for a long time. The quarterback makes it all go and when you have a skill guy like Antonio Brown outside and a back like (Le’Veon) Bell that can do the things that he can do inside, it is going to make it difficult for our guys. Everybody just has to do their job, is what it comes down to. Hopefully we will have enough things to change it up to take away what they do really well. Ben (Roethlisberger) is good enough that he is going to figure out what you are taking away and then go use his other tools, so it will be that kind of game all day long. We are going to need a couple of breaks here and there and need some turnovers and our guys need to play fast and relentless and hopefully something good happens.”

THE FINAL WORD:
Football is often a game about match-ups and I like the match-ups in the game for the Giants. I think Janoris Jenkins can handle Antonio Brown. I think the Giants defense can hold Le’Veon Bell under 100 yards rushing. Pittsburgh does not have the dynamic tight end. I do worry about Bell as a pass receiver. And the Giants need to be careful of the gadget play involving Brown. On the flip side, the Giants can attack through the air and the Steelers have issues stopping the pass. Obviously, the offensive tackles need to do a reasonable job of keeping blitzing linebackers off of Eli. Much of the pass protection will be mental – picking up stunts, late dogs, etc. Red zone offense versus red zone defense is another key. What I don’t want to see is this game coming down to Robbie Gould.

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Dwayne Harris, New York Giants (November 27, 2016)

Dwayne Harris – © USA TODAY Sports Images

DECEMBER 1, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Safety Nat Berhe (concussion), linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion), and defensive end Owa Odighizuwa (knee) did not practice on Thursday.

Left guard Justin Pugh (knee), offensive lineman Brett Jones (calf), and offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse (knee) practiced on a limited basis.

Wide receiver/returner Dwayne Harris (wrist) fully practiced.

LANDON COLLINS NAMED “NFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE MONTH”…
New York Giants safety Landon Collins has been named “NFC Defensive Player of the Month” for his performance during November. In four November games, all Giants victories, Collins had 30 tackles (23 solo), including a sack, and three interceptions.

Collins is the first Giants player to win an “NFC Defensive Player of the Month” award since defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul in December 2011. He is the first Giants safety in team history to win the award. The only other Giants defensive back to win the award was cornerback Jason Sehorn in December 1997.

THE COACHES SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Ben McAdoo and select position coaches and players will address the media on Friday.

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Nov 302016
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (November 27, 2016)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NOVEMBER 30, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
The New York Giants held a jog-thru practice on Wednesday. Safety Nat Berhe (concussion), linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion), and defensive end Owa Odighizuwa (knee) did not participate.

Left guard Justin Pugh (knee), offensive lineman Brett Jones (calf), offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse (knee), and wide receiver/returner Dwayne Harris (wrist) practiced on a limited basis.

“I think it depends how I come in tomorrow,” Pugh said. “I feel like tomorrow, if I can do more at practice, we’ll see how it goes from there. My goal is just to feel good every day, and keep building off that. And I think we’re heading in the right direction. I’m going to be back sooner or later.”

Although he currently remains on Injured Reserve, running back Shane Vereen returned to practice on Wednesday. Vereen was placed on IR in late September after suffering a triceps injury that required surgery. The Giants now have 21 days to activate Vereen to the 53-man roster, or his season will end on Injured Reserve.

“It was good to get him back out here in the mix with the team,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “He caught some balls…When (the medical staff) deem him ready, we’ll take a look at bringing him back.”

“Physically, I feel good. If it was just up to how I felt like, then I would have been back, but there is a lot that goes into it and we have to be smart,” said Vereen.

GIANTS SIGN SAFETY TO THE PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants have signed safety Christian Bryant to the Practice Squad. Bryant was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. The Rams waived him in September 2016. He then spent time on both the Practice Squad and active roster of the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals waived him on Monday. Bryant has played in 11 regular-season games with no starts. Bryant lacks ideal size and speed, but he a good athlete and an aggressive player with fine intangibles.

JASON PIERRE-PAUL NAMED “NFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK”…
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has been named “NFC Defensive Player of the Week” for his performance against the Cleveland Browns last Sunday. In that game, Pierre-Paul was credited with seven tackles, three sacks, three QB hits, three tackles for losses, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery that he returned for a 43-yard touchdown.

This is the third time this year a New York Giants defensive player has won the award. Safety Landon Collins earned it twice earlier this season. This is Pierre-Paul’s fourth “NFC Defensive Player of the Week” award in his career. Only linebacker Lawrence Taylor (9) and defensive end Michael Strahan (5) have more in team history.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice at 12:20PM on Thursday.